When you come to Harbourfront Centre for Island Soul this weekend you are going to see strange, tall creatures walking around the grounds. You may think that these are just people on stilts. You are wrong. They are the elusive Moko Jumbies! What is a Moko Jumbie? I’ll let Lord Kitchener tell you first:
What’s the origin of these symbols of Carnival and their sizzling stilted soco moves? The Moko Jumbies are thought to originate from West African tradition brought to the Caribbean. Moko is a god who can see the dangers and evils coming to a village because of his towering height. When Africans were brought to the Caribbean the Moko came with them, using its power of tall to walk across the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe if enough of us ask can get the SwizzleStick Theatre Moko Jumbie to recreate that bit of history in Lake Ontario.
Moko Jumbie survived and thrived in its new home and eventually walked the streets of Trinidad in a celebration of Carnival. By the 1900s Moko Jumbie had become the symbol of Trinidad’s Carnival and could be seen dancing throughout Port of Spain and other cities protecting the city and revelers from evil. When you see the Moko Jumbie this weekend make sure you thank it for being on guard while you dance the days and nights away at Island Soul!
If you and your kids want to learn more about the Moko Jumbie and hop on a stilt or two check out the workshop being held Sunday and Monday afternoon at Harbourfront Centre!